Cash Wale

Created by Peter Paige
Pseudonym of Morton Wolson
(1913-2003)

“It all began with the dog who liked beer…”
— the opening of “A Corpse for Cinderella”

Yet another hard-boiled private eye from the pulps, Peter Paige’s CASH WALE was a New York City dick very much in the Race Williams vein, full of gunplay and fisticuffs, but with a welcome dollop of humour–something ol’ Race wasn’t exactly known for.

For starters, Cash could charitably be called “pint-size”–a welcome change from the parade of hulking brutes unlike most of his fellow rough-and-tough sleuths. The good news for Cash was that he had a sidekick, Sailor Duffy, an ex-boxer, who could protect him. The bad news was that Duffy had taken a few too many punches to the head during his fighting career. So the two have to keep an an eye on each other.

But what really makes the series work is the over-the-top, eyeball-rolling plots (think Norbert Davis) and the slang-filled dialogue and excrucuating, punnish malapropisms, almost approaching Bellemesque levels, and the set-up for much of the series, which involves Cash and Sailor on the run from the law, accused of murder, for a case they botched. The stories are purportedly “letters” written to author Paige informing him of their misadventure while they seek to clear their names.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Peter Paige was one of Black Mask editor Fanny Ellsworth’s first discoveries after she succeeded Joseph Shaw, but he and his most famous creation, Cash Wale, soon lit out for greener pastures, stopping for a while at Detective Tales, but eventually joining the ranks of Black Mask‘s rival, Dime Detective, where Cash Wale stories continued to appear for the next decade.

THE EVIDENCE

  • “Don’t get your bulls in an uproar”
  • “Drop that corpse, you fool!”

SHORT STORIES

  • “Voodoo Frame” (January 1940, Black Mask)
  • “The Corpse Promoter” (April 1940, Detective Tales)
  • “Lotta Had a Husband” (September 1940, Dime Detective)
  • “Wanted: Dead and Alive” (February 1941, Dime Detective)
  • “The Bullet from Nowhere” (April 1941, Dime Detective)
  • “Lady, Can You Spare a Corpse?” (June 1941, Dime Detective)
  • “Local Corpse Makes Good” (November 1941, Dime Detective)
  • “Death Is from Hunger” (April 1942, Dime Detective)
  • “A Corpse for Cinderella” (June 1942, Dime Detective)
  • “Death Stands By” (February 1943, Dime Detective)
  • “The Riddle of Papa Rio” (August 1945, Dime Detective)
  • “Twelve Dead Mice” (January 1946, Dime Detective)
  • “Guilt-Edged Frame” (August 1946, Dime Detective)
  • “The Little Corpse Who Wasn’t There” (December 1946, Dime Detective)
  • “Cash in the Chips” (January 1947, Dime Detective)
  • “When a Man Murders” (March 1947, Dime Detective)
  • “The Cash Wale Massacre” (November 1947, Dime Detective)
  • “Cash Wale’s Brazen Ghost” (February 1948, Dime Detective)
  • “Cash Wale’s Lethal Lulu” (October 1948, Dime Detective)
  • “Cash Wale’s Carnival Kill” (May 1949, Dime Detective)
  • “Cash Wale’s Second Massacre!” (June 1953, Dime Detective)

COLLECTIONS

  • The Complete Cases of Cash Wale, Volume 1 (2021) Buy this book
    Collects the first five stories, plus an intro by John Wooley.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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